The Andaman and Nicobar Islands boast of another beautiful nearby place, which is the Neil Island. It is 40 kilometres away from Port Blair and popularly known as the vegetable bowl of Andaman due to the rich produce from the vast agriculture in the area. Neil Island is famous for its naturally shaped bridge-like rock also known as the Howrah Bridge.
It has two living natural corals formed just like a bridge. The rock formation was called by the Bengalis who settled in the island in the early days and they refer it as the Rabindra Sethu and later called it the Howrah Bridge. It is best seen during low tide.
There are nearby amazingly beautiful beaches, which are regarded as divine places, which are perfect places to go to when on vacation. Laxmanpur, Sitapur and Bharatpur villages are being flocked by tourists when in Neil Island as they cannot resist the serene feeling when in these beaches.
Other Attractions in Neil Island
- Sitapur Beach – Located at the very tip of the island, it is known from its rich limestone deposit formation and fresh vegetation.
- Radhanagar Beach – It is included in the list of the top ten beautiful beaches in the world. Beach lovers should make this a part of their itinerary and a must to enjoy the wonder of the sea. Activities like snorkeling, scuba diving and kayaking aside from swimming.
- Bharatpur Beach – Another attractive beach with green and lush vegetation with abundant species of fish. Watching the rich corals is a popular activity here and swimming in the clear blue waters.
Festivities/Events in Neil Island
In Neil Island, the Bengalis have their own unique way of celebrating their festivities and they delight in showing the tourists their tradition and culture through folk dances and music. They have the Island Tourism Festival and Subhash Mela.
- The Island Tourism Festival – a popular event celebrated for ten consecutive days by the local people. It showcases music, arts and crafts, drama, dancing and exhibitions. It is held at the start of winter and is being attended by many tourists and travelers from all over the world. There are also festivities for the children like puppet and magic shows.
- Subhash Mela – this festival is celebrated every January for a week. It commemorates the birthday of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose who was from India and a nationalist during the World War II. He helped to stop the British from ruling India at the time so he is being honored on his birthday.
How to get to Neil Island
- By air – From the nearest airport in Port Blair, Veer Savarkar International Airport, it takes 30 minutes to get to Neil Island.
- By sea – There are cruises available which sails from Visakhapatnam going to Port Blair although they take one and a half day. If you are coming from Havelock then you can take a ferry ride.
It is best to travel to Neil Island and see the Howrah Bridge during summer wherein spending time in the beach is perfect for an island vacation. Also in wintertime as the climate is cooler and more pleasant. This is also a perfect place to celebrate the Holidays with your family or friends. It is not advisable to travel during monsoon season as there are rainfalls and waves are a little strong. Plus, tourists won’t be able to see the famous Howrah Bridge and enjoy fun under the sun.
Other attractions near Neil Island are the Radhanagar Beach and the Elephant Beach. The former is rated by Time Magazine as the most beautiful and magnificent beaches in 2004. It has pristine white sand and has a semi-thick forest that provides shade to the people. The latter is famous for Indian travelers. Although it was affected by the tsunami in 2004, it was restored to its natural beauty including the rich corals, which are the treasure of the island.
Amenities are limited like no ATMs but there is a satellite Internet and a local post office although a little bit expensive. There is a bar inside the bazaar, which has a quiet ambiance and becomes a little crowded in the evening, as this is a favorite spot when evening comes. Visitors should bring their cash, as there are no available moneychangers in the island.
The most interesting attraction in Neil Island is still the Howrah Bridge, which will leave you wondering how beautiful this island really is. Nature has blessed Neil Island with this important rock formation, which has given the island a reason for tourists to visit and remember.
To know more about Andaman’s best attractions, read about our list of things to do in Andaman